The Rockstar Energy Drink U.S. Open announced today that former supercross standouts Damon Bradshaw and Jeff Matiasevich will compete in this year’s legend’s rematch race at Las Vegas’ MGM Grand Garden Arena October 10-12. This heated rivalry during the late ‘80s and early ‘90s will be re-fueled on the floor of MGM Grand Garden Arena in a five-lap race during each night of racing.
“Once we put our helmets on, the rivalry will be just like the old days,” said Matiasevich. “I don’t think time has changed anything, we were rivals back then and we will be at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in October.”
When asked if Bradshaw really hated Matiasevich during his career, he said, “Yes, and I still do. I hated every one of the guys that I raced. At certain times, I wanted to race with him just the way I did with Jeff Stanton, hard and clean, but it wasn’t that way.”
The five-lap exhibition race brings back two of the sport’s icons and gives today’s fans a nostalgic look at the yesteryear of supercross. This rivalry helped ignite one of the best eras of supercross racing.
“It’s going to be exciting for the fans because they don’t know what to expect,” said Bradshaw. “We haven’t raced in so long, and this rivalry was so exciting during that era. Back then eight guys could have won the main event on any given night, so the racing was so intense. That is what the fans want, and that is what they can expect at this year’s U.S. Open.”
Bradshaw admits they do not send one another post cards and the rivalry has simmered as the two have grown older. However, Bradshaw’s motivation, still to this day, is fueled by conflict on the race track.
“When I raced, I liked a rivalry; that’s what motivated me,” said Bradshaw. “Even if it was in practice, I liked to go out and mix it up. I went to the line mad and fired up.”
The two did agree that no matter when or where they raced each other the intensity was high.
“It was an every weekend deal between us. It seemed like no matter what happened, we always found one another on the track and battled as hard as we could,” said Matiasevich. “It was a boxing match out there. For the fans, it’s going to be a real treat to see this race and this rivalry re-lived.
The legend’s rematch race was introduced at last year’s Rockstar Energy Drink U.S. Open, featuring former champions Damon Huffman (’98), Jeff Emig (’99) and Mike LaRocco (’02). The three champs squared off during the two-night race with LaRocco walking away with top honors.
“Last year’s legend’s rematch race between Mike LaRocco, Damon Huffman and Jeff Emig brought back some great racing memories,” said Todd Jendro, senior director of operations, Live Nation Motor Sports, Inc. “Having Damon (Bradshaw) and Jeff (Matiasevich) on the starting gate this year is going to bring back one of the greatest racing rivalries in the history of the sport.”
Bradshaw, who is now retired from professional supercross/motocross racing, drives the Air Force Afterburner monster truck on the widely popular Monster Jam® circuit.
“My job now is to drive the U.S. Air Force Afterburner monster truck on the Monster Jam® tour, so, I do not need to get hurt out there during our race,” said Bradshaw. “I want the race to be clean and fun, but I don’t know if that will happen. I have a feeling that once we line up, the rivalry will reunite.”
During his professional career, Bradshaw won six AMA Supercross Lites class main events, 19 AMA Supercross class wins and currently sits eighth on the all-time AMA Supercross win list. While he never won a championship, he was one of the most talented racers of his era.
Matiasevich, who now works for his family’s produce company in southern California, won back-to-back AMA Supercross Lites class championships in ’89 & ’90. The winner of 11 AMA Supercross Lites class wins and one AMA Supercross win, Matiasevich looks forward to racing his former rival. He retired in 1998 and still rides motocross on a regular basis.
Tickets are now available for the 10th anniversary of the Rockstar Energy Drink U.S. Open at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas October 10-12, 2008 at www.ussx.com, www.ticketmaster.com, by phone at 702-474-4000 or the MGM Grand Garden Arena box office. Regarded as one of off-road motorcycling’s premier races, the Rockstar Energy Drink U.S. Open is the final ‘major’ race of the motocross season. Tickets are available for as low as $20 through Ticketmaster.com. All tickets subject to 5% Las Vegas Entertainment tax.